The Belief in Witchcraft: How We Got Here
(Part of this essay was previously published in a Nigerian Daily)
Throughout history humans have tried to make meaning of the universe. In the process we have assigned names to the powers in heaven and those on earth as an attempt to pacify and control what is mysterious and less understood. In this sense, if the powers that are not understood could be designated as witchcraft, these then have existed since the beginning of time itself. Anyone who is interested in understanding the belief in witchcraft and its effects on human behavior in different societies can find plenty to read in a local library in the western world, though the same cannot be said of libraries in our homeland. Volumes have been written on this subject of what some anthropologists have termed "supernatural crime". Among us in Akwa Ibom State, the best place to start in understanding this strange belief is Daniel Offiong's book: Witchcraft, Sorcery, Magic and Social Order Among the Ibibio of Nigeria (1991) Fourth Dimension Publishers, Enugu, Nigeria. In this essay, I will attempt to trace the development of the belief in witchcraft. The thing to note in this brief summary is that the belief is an imported European cult, which like other religious practice takes on indigenous elements where ever it spreads. It is worthy to note also that while the cult is no longer as powerful as it once was in the west, illiteracy, ignorance and fear have combined to make this cult a very strong social force among our people in the delta region in Nigeria.
The Annang War Dead
By Ezekiel Ette, Ph.D.
No figures exist on the number of people killed during the Nigerian civil war that raged from 1967 to 1970, but the Annang suffered disproportionately in what is now Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. Those who served in the Eastern House of Assembly, the regional executives, the federal legislature and the federal executives left their posts to escape the killings led by the Hausas. Back in the east, as the war raged, these leaders became sitting targets for those who supported other political parties.
Historical Revisionism: The Case of the Annang Nation.
By Tom U. Okure, PH.D
Context and Background
The Annang people are a distinctive cultural group within Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The Annangs in common with many other tribal groups in Nigeria like to refer to their ethnic grouping as a nation. The word nation is used here to refer to a group of people (Annangs) living in Nigeria and constituting a single political and economic unit. The Annangs are indigenous to Abak, Ikot Ekpene, Ika, Ukanafun, Etim Ekpo, Obot Akara, Essien Udim and Oruk Anam local government in Akwa Ibom State.
Ikot Ekpene Plaza: Who Is Telling Our Story?
Ezekiel Umo Ette, Ph.D.
Our lives are made up of stories and a cursory reflection authenticates this. “How are you?” or the Annang “Atie dié” bears this out as true. It seems like those who inquire about our wellbeing want to know about the state of our souls and if all is well with us in the world. Years of answering this question have led to short answers such as “idiökkö” or it is not bad or “afön”, all is well. The story telling idea came back to me powerfully as I sat a few days ago awaiting our dear governor to arrive at Ikot Ekpene and declare open what will become the Raffia City living room, the new Ikot Ekpene Plaza.There is something spiritual and even magical with waiting.
Ezekiel Umo Ette, Ph.D.
To understand the issue of ethnicity and ethnic conflict in Nigeria, one must have a simple knowledge of Nigeria’s history. As already noted, the Annangs live in the southeast section of Nigeria in what is now called Akwa Ibom with the Igbos to the west and the Ibibios in the east. Prior to British colonization, the group had between fifteen to twenty clans, with each clan headed by a leader known as Akuku (Messenger, 1957). Each clan had a food taboo and all members of the clan strictly adhered to such taboo. Thus it is possible even today to recognize and trace the migration patterns of the Annangs based on the food taboo of each clan since individual members maintained such taboos despite separation from the group of origin. The British colonial policy forced the unification of several clans and significantly weakened the office of the Akuku (Messenger, 1957).